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October 2016
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Looking back at some individual players’ performances

By Walter Broeckx

When looking back at the Zagreb match the only thing I can say is that it sure had a few moments of utter brilliance in it. And even a few of those moments  not even resulted in a goal in fact.  And we had a few top class performers all over the field.

If we look at the first goal it was a brilliant run from Özil. He started even deep in the Arsenal half when the ball was played to the left to Flamini who then gave it to Alexis.

Giroud and Özil saw the opportunity and sprinted to be in the penalty area. If you do have the chance to see them running the difference in style was amazing to see. Özil ran fast but it looked as if he was just gliding over the pitch… hardly touching the grass with his shoes.

But the fact that Giroud made his run to the first post was the key factor. Because the central defender followed Giroud as he was the man to mark of course and by doing this he opened the heart of the Dinamo defence. The cross from Alexis was inch perfect but I can imagine that Özil will ask him to give it a bit further away from the keeper next time. Now Özil had to dive in and in a way he was lucky to avoid a frontal collision with the keeper.

But what a fine move that was also from the players who didn’t touch the ball. And Özil scoring with his head… also not a daily sight.

The second goal was down to Monreal being in a striker position doing what a defender does well: intercept a pass. He then glided past his man as if he was Santi Cazorla (I first thought it was Santi) and then cut back the ball inch perfect for Alexis to score his first goal.

What a left back Monreal has become. In a way it is a bit unfortunate for him that Coquelin and Bellerin have grabbed the headlines when it comes to players having made the biggest step forward. I think Monreal has proved that Wenger was right in signing him in January a few seasons ago. He really has settled down in the PL since more than a year and is probably the best left back in the PL now. I hope for Arsenal’s sake that Del Bosque doesn’t read this.

The third goal was a massive pass from Campbell. He saw the possible opening, he saw Alexis looking for the opening and delivered a ball that had the right pace and precision. An Özilesque pass one could say. Alexis still had to round the keeper and his quick feet did the job in a great way.

I really hope that this is the match that Campbell needed to make himself aware that he really is good enough for Arsenal. I hope this will give him confidence to do this match after match. Because I was not just impressed with his attacking game but also because of his defensive work. On more than one occasion he came back and dispossessed the Dinamo players of the ball when they tried to create a dangerous attack.

His work ethic was impeccable over the whole 90 minutes. Even when visibly getting tired he kept on running back whenever he could and should. It was as if Ramsey sitting on the bench was his signal to step it up.

One of my favourite moments however didn’t really result in a goal. The neck-control from Alexis.  I think it was Flamini or Ramsey with a long ball over the top to launch him in space. Alexis seemed to realise that if he let the ball hit the ground it might get too much pace to keep it in or to control it.

So while running he jumped up and controlled the ball in his neck. Okay I know professional football players can do those tricks in training as if it is nothing. But to do this in a match after more than one hour of football is something completely different. The fact that Alexis landed badly and almost lost his footing was the reason why he had to readjust himself and he lost his pace by doing so. Just imagine Alexis scoring after such a ridiculous piece of skill…. I think I would have jumped in to my computer screen in an attempt to embrace him. It would have been painful I think and don’t know if my screen would have survived it.  [I was half way over the balcony in the Upper East before my neighbours managed to pull me back – Tony]

And then I haven’t even mentioned the moment when Alexis tried to lift the ball over his head from between both his legs in a crowded penalty area. It almost worked out but he was out crowded by the Dinamo defenders. But he sure has a few things in his coffers that make him a special player.

Talking about special players. A few hours before the match Özil posted a picture on his Facebook page. Just a picture indicating that it was match day today. But what I found interesting was the mood he said he was: determined. That was what he said. And he sure was determined to give it all.

The only downside on his performance yesterday was … that he didn’t assist anyone! But for once he took the duty of scoring on himself and scored that oh so vital first goal.

I know it is a not done to highlight too much these players that made the goals. Because the whole team was really in the mood to make things right. The work rate of all the players was as it should be. Maybe the WBA match reminded them a bit of this. But I do think other factors like losing two players with injury and certainly Coquelin was hard to take in that match and difficult to readjust.

Also delighted to see Ramsey back on the field. Still a bit rusty but full of energy and playing wherever the boss tells him to play. Welcome back Dad Aaron.  Hope the baby doesn’t  keep you awake too much!

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22 comments to Looking back at some individual players’ performances

  • Rantetta

    Can we get some effort from our wide midfielders?

  • para

    Joel for DM.
    We can utilise Joel in DM cover position i think, especially when Ramsey and Ox are back. He can hold the ball well, keep it and most times pass it correctly, which is what Coq does.
    I imagine the two of them playing in the midfield hole together, that will leave only long balls for the opposition to play. 🙂

  • Gord

    TheGuardian has a nice writeup on Alexis.

    Metro had an article, which showed Joel and Alexis tracking back within a minute or so of each other. Which was interesting to watch. Another article with a zillion cross scripting messages wanted to show a video on the neck capture, but all I seen was 3 still images on the page.

    Look medja people: if you are going to provide a URL to offsite contact, tell us in the text of the page what website actually has the content, so that we only need to turn on 1 cross scripting problem, instead of LOTS. I’ve seen websites where to view video, I need to sort out more than 30 sources of offsite content. Most of it being javascript which could hose my computer.

    Today in the medja, we are gifted an appearance by Steven Gerrard. Liverpool’s own expert on coming up short, headlines by saying that Arsenal is going to come up short in Greece.

    What I hope happens, is that this expert at coming up short, is in fact coming up short on his ability to predict coming up short.

  • bjtgooner

    A very nice article Walter.

    Like you I was impressed by Campbell, perhaps the run of games has helped settle him into the first team.

    I agree about Monreal, he has really developed into a fantastic player.

    The whole team played well last night, but the little bits of magic from Sanchez & Ozil were the icing on the cake!

  • nicky

    Let us not forget last night’s contribution from Flamini. I don’t know the km he travelled on the field of play, but he was everywhere in defence, and formed an important link with attack. He still has a role to play in our search for glory. 😉

  • Al

    Lots of standout performances all over the pitch last night. Like you Walter I absolutely loved that outrageous piece of skill by sanchez. His ball control is supreme; can’t remember which match last season where he took a 50 yard pass on his chest; the ball landed and stayed on his chest for what seemed like 2 seconds, it was like it had got stuck!

    Ozil has well and truly shut his critics up, what a way to do it. Not really surprised with Campbell, after seeing his performances at the world cup he was always going to put in a performance like that once he starts getting a run of games. I can see Wenger developing a headache on who to play that side of the pitch. I suspect though he will let Joel stay there, with the Ox coming in as sub. And Theo and Giroud will be swapping the central striker role.

  • Pat

    Thanks for a great read, Walter. This is the article I would like to have read this morning when I eagerly opened my newspaper after last night’s excitement. But I instead I got the usual three columns of journalistic moaning.

    It’s so much better to celebrate some wonderful play.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Some individual brilliance and a great team performance. We have a manager who takes the best and consistantly makes them even better.
    That was our players at their fluent best. Such a shame certain UK managers and refs are permitted use the dark arts to stop this art in its tracks.

  • Mandy Dodd

    It seems the critics judge our players harshly on single games. Hope they judge one of the players the AAA/media said we should sign on his performance this evening for Utd. If you judge him accordingly on a single game , and we were ever actually interested in him, we dodged a bullet.
    Morgan Scheiderlin was poor bordering on pathetic this evening, as were Utd in general

  • Gord

    A few places are running an interview with Flamini. One of them has a remark about Ozil: he (Flamini) was pleasantly surprised to see Ozil score with a header.

    I think much of the world was pleasantly surprised with that!

  • Gord

    There was a news article (out of the USA?) about Chioma Ubogagu ( She was subject to a trade from Sky Blue FC to Houston Dash. Best of luck in Texas Chioma.

    Squillaci was in the news today as well. He has played 15 times for Bastia this season. He seems in good mood about the Gunners, and said he turned down a loan to stay with the team while here.

    A while ago, someone had asked about Abou Diaby. I looked him up, and he was still injured. Expected to be okay for the end of November (now). He has his picture up at Olympic Marseille, but it doesn’t look like he has played yet.

    Oh, someone was asking what position Chambers played when he came on. Some newspaper person thought he played DM. Doesn’t mean he did.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Walter , it was a great team performance and everyone contributed .Cannot complain about each one’s commitment . Do hope they are able to continue at this pace , no matter who gets to play.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I see that in the BBC page that new football terms are being coined to keep up with the ages .

    So as my contribution to it ,,here are my suggestions –

    Fannutical – ‘them’ – totally nuts, the whole lot of them !

    Cointoss – Show displeasure by pelting opposition with coins . Quite commonly seen in North London.

    Eggspurts – also know as being eggplanted , where the so called ‘experts’ are left with the proverbial egg on their faces when predicting outcomes .

    Ostrichcise – Birdbrains of a feather which very often fuck up together !

    Mediaate – Lap up everything that the press puts out .In the older times this was often referred to as –

    Radiologic – The so called (mis)information one got via the radio.

  • colario

    Radiologic still exist along with its big brother telethoughtless.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ colario November 26, 2015 at 6:04 am – Agreed , and all this wasted time sitting in front of the tv results in teletubbys , teletummys and teledummies !

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    Thanks Walter.If Mesut carries on like this he will certainly be up for an award at the end of the season,Sanchez too?
    I also love the way Monreal has come on, once JC’s confidence is right up then Im sure he will start banging lots of goals, then its only up to him where he goes from there.
    Bricks:4.36am post, thanks as always for a good laugh! Some blogs dont tolerate humour etc always great to see it here.
    Jambug if you or Boo read this miss you guys being around come,and hope youre doing fine.
    cheers everyone, and long may UA lead the way!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Kenneth Widmerpool – November 26, 2015 at 8:16 am – Thanks Kenneth .
    How can one not but laugh ? Just like life imitates art , and ‘football is an art ‘ , so life is very much like football – absurdities , warts and all !
    I just choose to see the humour in it all. Just surprised that I’m not getting too many likes . Must be disabled just as mine is . But oddly the dislikes seem to work !

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    Bricks world needs more laughs, and thanks for all you bring here.Shame Mike Strutters not still around, he was always good for a laugh…

  • Jerry

    Excellent article about the amazing performance our players put in on Tuesday!

    Özil is my favorite player to watch since I saw him in his Werder Bremen days, but I think what he says off the pitch is what makes me like him even more!

    In regards to goals, Mesut Özil said, “I am an absolute team player. I don’t need goals for my ego. Whoever is positioned best in front of the goal should shoot. But I understand that I need to try to score myself from time to time. I do that now.”

    About if he’ll be the difference in the title race for Arsenal, Özil said “”Not because of Mesut Ozil, but with Mesut Ozil.”

    I am grateful that Arsenal has a manager who also considers the character of the players as well as their talent! Happy Thanksgiving to those that celebrate the holiday today!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Kenneth Widmerpool -November 26, 2015 at 8:44 am – Shame yes , but Mike Strutters’ work would still be too risque for this wholesome family blog . Well it is , until ‘them’ morons come on and spew crap that really ain’t wholesome at all !

    Maybe this guy ?

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    Bricks, thanks for that,my brothers go the same bottle opener!Good to see that Strutters DNA is a Arsenal fan!
    I was looking at a bit of Strutter yesterday, the wine taster is hilarious, as are plenty of others…like when he wants to go on holiday!!
    Cheers! for the link.